Archive for June, 2008

Diablo III Coverage

So now that we know it is Diablo 3, there have been quite a lot of coverage. Lets see whats going on:

From Kotak:

by Lesley Smith

Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Morhaime formally announced Diablo III during the WWI’s opening ceremony this morning, not that this will come as a surprise to anyone with the Diablo III forums already active on the official Blizzard site and rumours running rampant for nearly a fortnight.

After recapping on the success of the previous Invitational held in Korea, Morhaime premiered a trailer and then demoed a level playing as a Barbarian and a Witch Doctor, showcasing some of the improvements over the original game as well as giving attendees a hint at what they can expect from the final product. This includes a new UI in place of the potion belt and the ability to play the game just by using a mouse. Similarly the health system has been augmented by God of War and Devil May Cry style red globes which replenish not just the health of the character but also those near by.

After the Fire Dancers had left the main stage and the crowds has dispersed, many jubilant, I headed for the jam-packed press conference where journalists got to give Blizzard’s Jay Wilson (Lead Designer on Diablo III) and co-founder Frank Pearce a grilling about Diablo III.

“It’s been in development for a few years. About four.” Wilson admits and of course, when asked the next Big Question: a release date, he gives the typical Blizzard response. “When it’s done,”

Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce was quick to add that, even after four years, “it’s far too early in development.”

Despite being vague on many points such as how much of the game was complete – a process Wilson described as ‘super fun’ – and the specifics of the storyline, He revealed the game is set twenty years after the War of Destruction and the events of the original games have become regarded as myth, indeed even those who were alive (and that’s not many) are either insane or convinced that nothing happened.

Unlike Warcraft, this is not a game about crafting your own unique virtual persona. Other than the classes and the gender, avatars aren’t customisable; instead the idea is to “dive right in and get to the monster killing”.

Being a Diablo title, it really wouldn’t be right unless there were plenty of monsters to slaughter and bosses to defeat. The monsters themselves are huge but even the obese charging abomination we saw steam-rolling towards a Barbarian – a giant in its own right – was just a mob. But the most impressive aspect was not the size of the mobs – it was a wall of zombies which managed to elicit cheers from the crowds.

While the assembled masses were shown two areas, a dungeon and a grassy wilderness, that was more than enough to show off some of the more interesting aspects of the Barbarian and Witch Doctor. The first, for example, uses a special attack called Whirlwind to send zombies and other trash flying to their deaths while the Witch Doctor makes use of pets who do their bidding. They can also summon swarms of locusts who devour enemies and anyone nearby. Like World of Warcraft’s priests and warlocks, they also have the ability to send enemies running using an ability called Horrify as well as mind control which is going to make for some interesting fights. Even more so when you consider that maps aren’t all static, some are random meaning the exit and entrance to an area might not be in the same place each time.

Oh, and for those of you wondering what really was with that Blizzard splash screen well the Diablo theorists were right. Wilson confirmed that the design of the splash screen was meant to hint at Diablo III but doesn’t know anything about that purple penguin.

From Gamespy:

Just a few minutes ago, Blizzard kicked things off at the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, and did it by officially announcing their latest project: Diablo III. After showing off a short teaser unveiling the game, co-founder Mike Morhaime brought up lead designer Jay Wilson, who gave the crowd a 20-minute demo of the game in action.

The demo, which showed that Diablo III will use a 3D isometric view, included a look at the Barbarian and Witch Doctor classes and talk of destructible environments. The announcement ends a week of massive speculation throughout the online gaming community, who’d focused on a teaser image at the official Worldwide Invitational site through the week.

The unveiling of Diablo III is just the start of the festivities in Paris: through the weekend, we’ll be going hands-on with StarCraft II and the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion back, as well as chatting with members of Blizzard on hand. Check back regularly, as we’ll have more news and hands-on impressions through the weekend.

From IGN.com:

June 28, 2008 – We caught up with Rob Pardo, Blizzard’s executive vice president of game design following the Diablo III announcement at their Worldwide Invitational 2008 event in Paris, France. During the course of the interview he expanded on some of Blizzard’s design philosophy as it relates to Diablo III, its development process, some of the game’s features, and managed to eat about one half of a slice of pepperoni pizza. Development on Diablo III began way back when Blizzard North was still around and currently the team working on it consists of around 50 people. Initially the game’s visual design was closer to the older games than what we saw in the gameplay demonstration. “We probably did three rev[ision]s on the visual direction until we got to this and now we’re really happy with it,” said Pardo.

The gameplay was also given several overhauls. “We were pretty heavily influenced by some of the games that were coming out like God of War, a very visceral game,” said Pardo. “A totally different genre but you kind of saw games like that and we thought we really needed to update this game’s gameplay…it has to be much more of an action game.”

With many before the reveal buzzing about a potential Diablo MMO announcement, we had to ask: was there ever any thought to moving Diablo away from its overhead action-RPG roots? “It totally crossed our mind but this is the game we ultimately wanted to make. Obviously I love MMOs, I think it’s a great genre, but that doesn’t mean that other genres aren’t great too. I actually see a huge opportunity in the action-RPG genre because nobody’s really doing a lot of games in that genres and I don’t understand why, personally.”

Though there have been quite a few action-RPG releases since Diablo II, perhaps there weren’t as many as there should have been, or perhaps action-RPGs get labeled incorrectly. “What I think often happens with the genre, with the games that I’ve seen, is that they kind of get confused as to whether it’s an RPG that just happens to be real-time or is it just an action game,” said Pardo. “I feel like that’s oftentimes you get these games that are not quite doing both. I feel like that’s the big opportunity for us. If you look at Diablo and Diablo II, they’re really action games. The story was light, the RPG were very light and I think one of the things we looked at with Diablo III was that doesn’t have to be the case.”

Pardo cited what Blizzard did with real-time strategy design from StarCraft to Warcraft 3. “A lot of people in that time period were doing RTS missions where you just build up your base, slug it out against another base, do that 30 times and you’re done with the campaign. With War 3 we tried to come up with interesting scenarios and I think that’s the same thing with Diablo III. You guys may have been used to Diablo and Diablo II being really just kind of a point and click game…fun but not really immersive.”

Incorporating more involved questing and role-playing elements is something Blizzard is focusing on with Diablo III, but also make the gameplay more dynamic. “We had bosses in Diablo II but, again, they weren’t really involved. We really want to try to implement bosses that are much more epic, there’s much more gameplay to actually defeating them. We’re taking cues from games like Zelda, God of War, games like that, bring that to the action-RPG genre. We want to have side quests and scenarios that are much more involved…like defend the town from attack or something like that.”

Diablo III will be similar to Diablo II in terms of its overall structure. There’ll still be acts. There’ll be above and underground sections of maps, though the outdoor environment won’t be as randomized, as Blizzard wants to build more distinct personality into some of the game’s sections. There still will be plenty of randomization though when it comes to items, monsters, and dungeons.

While roaming around the game’s areas, you’ll have a selection of classes to pick from. At this point Blizzard is saying it’ll be similar to what was originally available in Diablo II before Lord of Destruction. Their official FAQ sheet says there’ll be five classes exactly. So far we know of the barbarian and all-new witch doctor, a spell-focused class that can summon minions, fear enemies, and summon walls of zombies.

Pardo had quite a bit to say about how Blizzard is going about the tweaks made to returning class skills and the new ones being brought in. “With any sort of sequel, and I’m going to go ahead and use Sid Meier’s rule because we use something similar…The way he approaches sequels is one-third proven, one-third improved, and one-third new. That’s pretty much how we approached StarCraft 2…some of the old units came in, some of the old units got improvements, we brought in some new units, and we also got rid of some units. I think you’ll see something similar [in Diablo III]. The barbarian as you saw has a ton of abilities that are totally new but we had to bring over things like whirlwind.”

So why announce Diablo now? We still don’t have release dates for StarCraft II or World of Warcraft’s Wrath of the Lich King expansion, which many were speculating would be announced at WWI, so why bring another high profile product into the pubic with yet another nebulous release date? “The announcement of our projects is usually when it’s time for that game to be announced,” said Pardo. “This project has been going for a while and it finally got to the point where it felt like it’s time to announce the game. We kind of have this rule of, ideally, we announce a game a year to a year and a half before the game comes out. That’s our theory, and then three years later [trails off]. We’re getting to be a bigger and bigger studio so we can’t just keep one game announced and everything else hidden. We have several games in development now.”

Finally, when might we hear something about another MMO from Blizzard? “I think it’ll be a while before we announce our next game.”

There you guys have it, release info on Diablo 3. Although I am sad to hear it wasn’t Starcraft Universe, a new Diablo is pretty awesome.

Diablo III

Thoughts?

Things That Might Suck: Red Sonja

It seems that there is a new Red Sonja movie in the works, and this is the first I have hear of it. I loved the original back in the day. It was fun and exciting, and had Conan in it (Even if he wasn’t really Conan). The new Red Sonja is going to be played by Rose McGowan, and I am not sure how I feel about that. Actually, I do know how I feel about that. Not good. I will let i09.com tell you more.

Now that Rose McGowan is starring in the sword-and-sorcery-and-cleavage movie Red Sonja, produced by beau Robert Rodriguez, does this mean that the pair’s Barbarella movie is really on hold? Last we heard, the movie already had some sets built, but director Rodriguez hadn’t managed to scare up the $82 million he needs to create the space fantasy starring McGowan in the role Jane Fonda made famous. But an article announcing their Red Sonja movie doesn’t mention Barbarella at all. What’s going on?

According to the USA Today article about theRed Sonja movie, McGowan came to Rodriguez with a script about the scrappy warrior who vows never to sleep with a man until he’s bested her in combat. He became excited by the script, but she was originally startled to be offered it. “When they first came to me with it, I thought it was funny,” she said. “I do have a body made for sitting on a veranda with mint juleps and a parasol. I don’t know why I always have to save the planet.”

Rodriguez says McGowan is perfect for Sonja, because she’s scrappy. “Rose is a pistol,” he explained. “She’s whip-smart, has attitude to burn, is sexy, extremely strong, yet has a vulnerable side that would surprise her closest friends. That description also fits Red Sonja.”

So what’s up with Barbarella? After all, it already has those half-built spaceship sets, but filming on Red Sonja (directed by Rodriguez associate Douglas Aarniokoski) starts in October. It turns out that McGowan and Rodriguez were already shopping around another script for her to star in as of last month — a women in prison TV drama called Women In Chains, according to our sister site Defamer. (I wonder if the script has the Pinocchio sex joke that every women-in-prison movie includes.) And Rodriguez is busy directing a family comedy called Shorts. So it sounds as though they’d already kind of given up on Barbarella, deep in their hearts.

 

Blizzard Watch 2008

Ok, so I know I said I would wait till tomorrow to post about the Blizzard thing, but this fan made speculation image is very good. I don’t think its going to be Diablo 3 if they are going by the teaser image. But still, this one is well done.

WTF Image of the Day: Fail Friday

So its Friday and there is not a huge amount of new apart from all the frothing over the Blizzard teaser page. We will find out soon enough what that means (Tomorrow). Here are some FAIL images, enjoy, and I will have an update tomorrow on the Blizzard stuff.

Ryanair To Provide Free Oral Sex To Business Class Passengers

I honestly don’t know what to think. On one hand you have the horrible experience of flying, but on the other, free blowjobs. Hummmmmm.

From Consumerist:

While American discount airlines like Spirit Air and Southwest alternate between running sophomoric promotions and enforcing their prudish dress codes on passengers, European counterpartRyanair has trumped them all with its CEO’s announcement that transcontinental business class passengers will receive free “beds and blowjobs.” Video inside (safe for work if your job lets the word “blowjob” be said aloud).

In a press conference, CEO Michael O’Leary discussed Ryanair’s new transcontinental service, which will offer extremely cheap economy fares, as well as luxurious business class seats that include amenities like “white seats,” beds, and oral sex.

Hot Ass = Socks?

When you think of buying socks is the first thing that comes to mind a really great ass? If so head over to Is It Weird? and take a look at the latest American Apparel ad. Trust me, its worth it.